President Obama’s Strategic Vision and Actions Benefit the Florida Space Coast

I recently joined community leaders from Florida at the White Housefor a discussion about steps the Obama Administration and NASA aretaking to improve the economy of the Space Coast. Kennedy Space Centerand the entire Space Coast have been synonymous with NASA’s historic30-year Shuttle program as well as America’s first 50 years of humanspace flight. And with the ambitious plan the Administration andCongress have laid out for NASA, the Space Coast will remain a criticalpart of America’s space program.

The President has made three recent decisions that have set NASA and the Space Coast on a path of innovation, leadership, economic development and jobs well into the future.

First, at the President’s direction we are developing a new heavy lift rocket that will take our astronauts farther into space than ever before. Along with the work already occurring on a new deep space crew vehicle, this represents a milestone moment in NASA history.

We are now poised to take the next great leap into deep space exploration while at the same time creating good-paying U.S. jobs, and providing the cornerstone for America’s future human spaceflight efforts for decades to come.

Second, the President has extended the life of the International Space Station until at least 2020. This will support jobs in Central Florida for processing equipment and supplies for the ISS as well as future launches for cargo and crew.

And third, the Administration’s decision to turn transport of astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station over to commercial crew partners is already beginning to reap big dividends for the Space Coast. NASA announced in October a partnership with Space Florida to lease part of the Kennedy Space Center facilities to Boeing to build commercial space craft there and create 550 jobs.

At the President’s direction, we are engaging American companies in this work so that NASA can focus on what we do best – developing the next generation rocket and capsule systems for human space flights to deep space destinations where we have never been before.